عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Speech by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong at The Opening Ceremony of The Third ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Space Security

2015/11/30

Beijing, 30 November 2015

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, I would like to welcome all of you to the Third ASEAN Regional Forum Workshop on Space Security co-chaired by China, Laos, Russia and the United States. Space security is a strategic and pioneering issue that bears on the future of all humanity. I hope all the participants will make good use of this workshop, engage in in-depth discussions and share ideas and experience on the global governance of space security, an issue of shared interest, so as to actively promote coordination and cooperation and find ways to safeguard space security.

I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank the co-chairs, Laos, Russia and the US, for their strong support and cooperation. It is the first time for China to co-chair a workshop on space security with Russia, the US and an ASEAN representative under the framework of the ARF. I am convinced that the workshop will help regional countries build consensus on space security and promote sound development of the peaceful uses of outer space.

Distinguished Guests,

The rapid development of outer space application and space technologies has a profound impact on various aspects of mankind's economic and social life. In recent years, as more and more countries are engaged in space activities, relevant international and regional cooperation has deepened. Space technologies such as telecommunications, navigation, meteorology and remote sensing are getting more and more mature, playing an increasingly prominent role in such areas as sailing, fishery, agriculture, meteorology and disaster reduction. It has significantly promoted economic development, social progress and improvement of people's lives across the world.

To the growing peaceful uses of outer space, space security is like sunshine and air. One can hardly notice its existence, but can't survive once deprived of it. Therefore, when it comes to the vast yet invaluable outer space, we need to cherish it all the more, put it to appropriate use, and make it a peaceful new frontier for the international community to seek win-win cooperation and common development, rather than a wrestling pit fraught with frictions, conflicts and vicious competition. To that end, China proposes the following:

First, we should foster a comprehensive approach to space security. With the spread and development of space utilization, space security is faced with two challenges. First, the "growing pains" such as the deteriorating space environment, bustling space traffic and increasing space debris have exerted adverse impact on the safe utilization of outer space. This trend derives from and accompanies the utilization of outer space, and it is an issue of development. Second, as the strategic position of outer space becomes prominent, the trend of outer space weaponization has significantly intensified, with growing implications for outer space security and the international strategic landscape. This is an issue of security and a major challenge to mankind's utilization of outer space. We need to take a holistic approach to address the two challenges, seek targeted solutions and give equal importance to both of them, rather than prioritize one over the other, or even resolve one while neglecting the other.

Second, we should foster a balanced approach to space security. We need to draw lessons from the nuclear disarmament process, and should not repeat the old path of "development first, disarmament afterwards". We can't afford to wait until the Damocles sword of outer space weaponization hangs over our head, and then realize the gravity of the issue and consume huge resources to resolve the problem. That's why we need to take preventative measures, such as negotiating and concluding at an early date a legally-binding international instrument to prevent outer space weaponization and arms race, so as to provide an institutional guarantee for space security. This is the fundamental way to safeguard space security. In the meantime, it is also necessary for countries to take appropriate and practicable confidence-building measures based on each country's conditions and enhance mutual trust in outer space activities so as to maintain space security. This is a positive complement to the process of arms control in outer space. Only on the well-laid double track of legal documents and transparent confidence-building measures can the train of global governance of space security start steadily, operate safely and take us to an outer space of stability, prosperity and development.

Third, we should foster an inclusive approach to space security. With more than 60 countries doing space activities and over 1,000 satellites in orbit, any country's activities would affect others. When it comes to space security, no country can stay aloof. Deployment of weapons and armed conflicts in outer space are like throwing stones in a glass house. No one in the house can escape unscathed. The strategic orientation of major countries with leading space capacity determines the overall security situation in outer space. Therefore, to ensure space security, major countries should lead by example, foster a sense of community of shared future, discard the mentality of pursuing absolute security and firmly prevent weaponization and arms race in outer space to ensure that all countries can enjoy a peaceful and secure outer space and benefit from the peaceful uses of it.

Distinguished Guests,

Outer space belongs to the entire mankind and all countries. All countries, regardless of the size and level of development, should participate in, contribute to and benefit from the peaceful uses of outer space. Space security should be built and safeguarded through the joint efforts of all countries and the benefits of space utilization should be shared by all countries through mutually beneficial cooperation and development. This is an important basis for the sustainable uses of outer space and also a fundamental solution to global governance of space security.

As an important player in space activities, China always advocates the peaceful uses of outer space and opposes weaponization and arms race in outer space. In advancing its own space plans, China has shouldered in good faith its responsibilities as a space country, earnestly fulfilled its international obligations including launch registration and space debris mitigation, and constructively participated in the work of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. China has been actively promoting international cooperation on the peaceful uses of outer space. It has signed 97 bilateral treaties on space cooperation with 30 countries including those in the Asia Pacific, vigorously promoted the international application of the Beidou Navigation System, and under the framework of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, helped member countries enhance their space application capacity. Through these efforts, China has contributed actively to making the dividends of space technologies accessible to all countries.

China attaches great importance to space security, and has worked actively to advance the negotiations on and conclusion of a treaty to prevent weaponization and arms race in outer space. China and Russia jointly submitted a draft treaty to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 2008 and submitted an updated text last year, which received support from most countries. We hope that parties will expand consensus, promptly launch negotiations on the treaty, and make sure that peace and tranquility in outer space are safeguarded in a legally binding manner.

Distinguished Guests,

Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the shaping of a security architecture featuring fairness, justice, joint contribution and shared benefits at the UN General Assembly. This has not only lent impetus to the cause of global peace and development, but also provided us with an important approach to jointly safeguarding space security. Looking up at outer space, we have high hopes that it will bring more benefits to mankind. Looking down at the earth, we know we still have an arduous long way to go in terms of global governance of space security. China stands ready to work with all the other ARF members to uphold the spirit of peace, security and mutually beneficial cooperation, stay committed to advancing the multilateral process of outer space security, deepen international cooperation, and contribute to safeguarding security in outer space and promoting peaceful uses of it.

In closing, I wish the workshop a complete success.

Thank you!

Suggest to a friend
Print